5 Fun, Safe Adventures to do in Wine Country

5 Fun, Safe Adventures to do in Wine Country

The main attraction of vacationing in St. Helena is the rich availability of Spring Mountain winery tours, wine tastings, and beautiful vineyards. Once you’ve tasted wine to your heart’s content, sampled the famous Patriotic Pour, and soaked in the stunning valley views, you might want to venture out and see some of the other attractions Spring Mountain and Napa areas have to offer.

As of summer 2020, most people are still exercising caution and maintaining social distance. However, this is no reason to spend the summer indoors! Indeed, the Napa County Shelter-at-Home Order now allows for outdoor sports and activities that can be done without close contact.

Here are five fun outdoor activities that will round out your wine tasting vacation and keep the whole family happy.

Kayaking and boating

Lake Berryessa is just one of the local possibilities if you’re looking to get out on the water for the day. Grab a boat and hit the lake via one of the kayak-friendly boat ramps that provide gentle and easy access to the water. Or, if you prefer to get a little wetter, jump in for a swim or rent a paddleboard or jet ski for maximum adventure.

Tour of the wetlands

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife habitats as you boat through the wetlands, because the area is absolutely teeming with life. Choose a close friend and hop in a paddleboat, and spend your day immersed in the beautiful scenery while you listen to your guide’s knowledge of local history, including some exciting ghost-town lore.

Hot air balloon rides

If you think the views of Napa Valley are incredible from the mountaintops, imagine how much you could see drifting through the sky. Pre-book your small group so you know you’re comfortable sharing a basket with only close friends!

Hiking trails

Truly, there is no shortage of things to see in California if you’re willing to venture out and look in the right places. Take a casual, dog-friendly stroll along numerous creeks, walkthrough immense redwood forests, or challenge yourself to an intense mountain hike. Just be aware that different trails cater to a wide variety of skill levels, so make sure you choose your route carefully ahead of time.

Guided bicycle tours

You don’t have to bring your own bike to enjoy the rich history and amazing scenery of a guided bike tour. Rent a bike, bring a friend, and get some great exercise at your own pace, all while maintaining a safe distance from others.

After a thrilling day, relax with a glass of great wine and great views. Sherwin Family Vineyards is dedicated to keeping your family’s safety and health as our top priority. Call (707) 963-1154 or use the online contact form to book a tasting appointment.

Spring Mountain’s Patriotic Pour

Spring Mountain’s Patriotic Pour

It’s almost the fourth of July, and if you’re like everyone else in the U.S., you’re probably wondering how to celebrate it. COVID-19 has made gathering in large groups to watch fireworks fairly unappealing, and after several weeks of lockdown, you’re probably itching to get out and do something different.

Sherwin Family Vineyards located in the stunning district of spring mountain wineries offers you a way to relax in peace and solitude while still observing summer’s most patriotic holiday.

Rather than sweating in the heat and waiting in line for Napa Valley’s tourist-heavy attractions, head to St. Helena and join the Sherwin family for their moving display of love for their country.

What is the Patriotic Pour?

The Sherwins originally created this bottle as a lasting tribute to the Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. They were honored to feature this bottle in a wine auction to benefit the families of victims lost in the attacks. To their delight, it was received with great success. 

Beautifully etched, hand-painted, and filled with Sherwin Family Vineyards’ best Estate Cabernet, the bottle also proudly features “In God We Trust” and “United We Stand” as part of the design.

    What makes this tribute one-of-a-kind?

    The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has a long history of prohibiting alcohol manufacturers from using the American flag’s image on their labels. 

     Sherwin Family Vineyards is different. They are the only company that has ever obtained approval for putting the flag’s image on their Patriotic Pour label.

    Are the bottles available for purchase?

    Yes. A limited amount are produced every year and either donated to charity causes or sold to customers. Pick one up by stopping by the winery, or browse the vineyard’s full selection of wines online.

    While the striking American flag bottle is available for purchase online, the beauty of this tribute is best enjoyed in person. 

    Take a moment of remembrance this fourth of July to honor those who are no longer with us and be a part of the ongoing tradition of the Patriotic Pour.

    How can I visit the winery and see the Patriotic Pour?

    At Sherwin Family Vineyards, we are dedicated to providing a memorable wine-tasting experience while keeping your health and safety our top priority. To schedule your tasting appointment call us (707) 963-1154 or use the online contact form. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.
    Spring Mountain Wine Tasting Goes Virtual

    Spring Mountain Wine Tasting Goes Virtual

    Perhaps the biggest annual tradition here in Napa County is wine tasting. After all, wine production is one of our major industries. With COVID-19 halting in person visits to our tasting rooms, Sherwin Family Vineyards, like many other Spring Mountain wineries, continues to sell online and host virtual wine tastings.

    Virtual Wine Tasting

    Some Napa wineries are participating in a “virtual” wine tasting. Customers purchase and then try their wines at home – privately or during a scheduled web meeting such as Facebook Live or Zoom.  We think these are great because they allow members and new customers to stay connected with their favorite wineries.  If it is your first time attending a virtual wine tasting be sure to pour yourself a sample of the featured wine and ask questions!  Great questions to ask include:

    • How long should you let it/this/a wine breathe?
    • What foods do you recommend I pair this with?
    • What temperature do you serve this wine at?

    Other options

    If you don’t like the idea of a virtual wine tasting, there are other options. For instance, some companies are offering classes about wine. These will teach you something new, while allowing you to try a variety of wines.  Some even use Zoom to form a wine-centered class with the opportunity to socialize. In short, wine lovers everywhere can find a way to try new things and connect with one another.

    If you are local to the region, some places are offering drive-thrus, wine-thrus and blind tasting pick ups.

    Buying Wine During Lockdown

    Although we are currently not open for visitors, it is still possible to buy our highly rated wines. We recently released our 2019 white and rose wines which may be purchased directly on our website.

    When Are We Reopening?

    If you’re planning a trip to Spring Mountain, you’re probably wondering when our tasting room will be open. While ordering wine is always an option, we are not sure as to when we will reopen. Once we receive permission to reopen, we will probably have reduced capacity and other restrictions such as mask requirements. Rest assured, your safety, and that of our staff, are the most important consideration.

    Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.

    4 Ways to Connect with Sherwin

    4 Ways to Connect with Sherwin

    Spring is one of our winery’s most treasured times of year. As one of St. Helena’s spring mountain wineries, the vines are coming alive. We wanted to take a moment and thank you -- our community and wine club members. We have been humbled by your outpouring of support and we hope that you all are staying safe and healthy at home.

    As you have probably seen on our social media pages, we’re inviting our community to find creative ways of #ShelteringWithSherwin. While we miss you at the winery, you luckily don’t have to visit us to still enjoy our handcrafted wines. If you, like us, are craving some excitement as well as some social connections, check out these fun and creative ways to pass time at home.

    Host a Virtual Happy Hour

    You may not be able to see your friends and family in person, but you can still see them virtually! Pour a glass of your favorite Sherwin wine and host a virtual happy hour with your friends and family this week. Maintaining social connections is essential through these times, as those connections boost your mood and outlook.

    Explore New Pairings

    Many members of our community have been using their time at home to expand their skills in the kitchen. We can’t resist a good wine pairing and would love to share some ideas on flavors to pair with your favorite Sherwin wines. Shop our collection of wine online and reach out for ideas on which foods pair perfectly with your selections.

    Plan a Future Visit

    There’s no time like the present to daydream about your next visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards. Use your time at home to research excursions to take during next trip. From exploring local art galleries to savoring the cuisines of Spring Mountain restaurants, our blog is packed with ideas for fun activities.

    Enjoy the Pause

    One way to make the most of your time at home is to just enjoy this pause in life. Adapting to the new slow pace can be difficult, but it can also be an opportunity for deep reflection or to try your hand at a new hobby. Embrace the slow moments, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio, and think of how you’ll carry through the lessons of this time into the future.

    Again, we are so thankful for each and every member of our community. We’d love to see photos of and hear more about the creative ways that you are #ShelteringWithSherwin. If you need to place an order, you may do so online here. We look forward to seeing you soon!

    Wine Appreciation 101

    Wine Appreciation 101

    Have you ever visited Saint Helena? Above this quaint town is Spring Mountain road, which is home to many Spring Mountain Wineriesfor you to try on your next trip to wine country. Whether you are tasting wine in the comfort of your own home or in a formal tasting room, here are four tips to help you experience the unique blend and varietal in every glass.

    Wine Bouquet

    The secret of enjoying wine lies in its bouquet. Also known as "nose" or "aroma," this quality can reveal a lot about wine - the presence of preservatives, overexposure to oxygen, and even its age.

    To get the smell of your wine, take about ten seconds swirling the glass to allow the wine to volatilize. You can then move it closer to your nose and inhale, whatever the smell that comes out will tell you much about the wine. Is the scent pleasant, or is it metallic? Does it smell like fruit, or is it funky? The smell may be citrus, floral, fruity, earthy, or any other scent which will depend on the preparation.

    Wine Appearance

    The wine's appearance refers to how clear it is. When analyzing wine, its appearance is one of the factors you need to consider. The appearance of wine can help you to judge quality and is an indicator of its health. A healthy wine reflects light easily from its surface.

    To determine the appearance of your wine, put your glass at an angle against some white background. Its opaqueness will give you a clue to the aging process, and the grape variety used.

    For example, a deeper blue color indicates that the wine is wood cask aged. Other characteristics of wine affected by its appearance include its balance, acidity, and vintage. Note that sweet and white wines are denser, while red wine tends to be intense or deep.

    The Taste of Wine

    The most important characteristic of a wine is its taste. It goes hand in hand with its smell and appearance. Wine-tasting is a skill that you can learn, but it needs some concentration. So, when in a crowded or noisy place, you may not get the real taste of your wine.

    The taste is also affected by the odor from other sources, as well as the temperature of the wine. What you've been drinking or eating may also affect your impression of the wine.

    When you sip wine, it will interact with your taste buds and the olfactory nerve receptors. This will help you to determine the varietal character, complexity, expressiveness, and clarity of the wine. Some questions to consider are: Is it acidic, sweet, or balanced? Are you able to pick any unique flavors?

    Finish or Aftertaste

    Finish or after taste is that flavor that remains in your mouth after you've swallowed the wine. It is also another parameter used to determine the quality of the wine. Great wines have sophisticated, long, and luxurious finishes. They are also smooth and soft in texture.

    Every wine bottle has an aromatic tale that tells its story. There isn't a right or wrong way of appreciating wine because each person is different. If you don't like the smell, taste, or appearance of a particular wine, you can try another wine.

    Visit us

    Experience the tastes of a Spring Mountain Winery, and schedule a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards or place your wine order directly.

    Springtime on Spring Mountain AVA

    Springtime on Spring Mountain AVA

    Each season brings a unique beauty to the Spring Mountain District near St. Helena, CA, but there’s something truly special about experiencing spring in this region. This time of year breathes fresh life into St. Helena and Spring Mountain. The season’s mild weather offers a prime opportunity to explore the outdoors and the area offers ample attractions to fill your days. From experiencing growing season at the Spring Mountain wineries to enjoying local cuisine, check out the following attractions to make the most of your time in St. Helena.

    Spend Time Outdoors

    A visit to the Spring Mountain area wouldn’t be complete without exploring the outdoors. This region of California boasts a beautiful natural landscape and one of the best ways to explore it is through a horseback riding tour. Several stables are located throughout the area that offer a variety of tour options for all levels of experience. Spend an afternoon horseback tour soaking up the spring sunshine and spot wildlife along the journey.

    If horseback riding isn’t your thing, there are many other ways to explore the outdoor beauty surrounding St. Helena. Spend a morning, afternoon or an entire day hiking one of the area’s state parks or rent a kayak and paddle around Lake Hennessey or one of the region’s other lakes. Seeking some adrenaline during your travels? Discover the region from up high in a hot air balloon ride.

    Explore Local Museums and Galleries

    Learn a bit about St. Helena’s history and culture by visiting some of the town’s museums and art galleries. One of these notable attractions is the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which commemorates the life of St. Helena resident and famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson through exhibits and artifacts on display. Main Street St. Helena is home to a few great art galleries that are worth exploring as well as many other local shops.

    Enjoy Local Cuisine and Music

    One of the best parts about traveling is enjoying a region’s local cuisine and culture. St. Helena and the surrounding areas offer ample opportunities to enjoy excellent food and great music. One of the most notable landmarks in St. Helena is The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The Greystone building was built in the 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Schedule a visit to explore the building and book a cooking class. The music scene comes to life in St. Helena in spring, with many establishments offering live music on various nights.

    Don’t Forget the Wine

    Of course, no trip to the Spring Mountain district would be complete without a trip to the wineries. Situated at the top of Spring Mountain, Sherwin Family Vineyards offers spectacular views of St. Helena and the surrounding landscape. The vineyard’s tasting experience is unlike any other in Napa Valley. Relax on the patio in warm weather or cozy up next to the tasting room’s fireplace on chilly days with a glass of the winery’s award-winning wine in hand. Whether in spring or another season, a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards is sure to complete your St. Helena trip.

    Spring is an ideal time to visit the Spring Mountain District near St. Helena. From horseback riding tours to museums and art galleries, the St. Helena region offers ample attractions for visitors. Of course, no trip to St. Helena would be complete without a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards.

    Planning a Valentine’s Day Excursion in Spring Mountain, St Helena

    Planning a Valentine’s Day Excursion in Spring Mountain, St Helena

    Sherwin Family Vineyards would like to invite you to our Spring Mountain winery this Valentine’s Day. Since wine and romance go hand in hand, a Valentine’s Day visit to Spring Mountain in St. Helena is a great way to spend time together with your loved ones.

    Visit Sherwin Family Vineyards

    Established in 1996, our family-owned vineyard is a piece of paradise on Spring Mountain. Tours are available by reservation only and include a tour of the winery and a very special fireside wine tasting experience in our exclusive tasting room or on the deck overlooking our private lake when weather permits. An excellent Valentine’s Day experience, Sherwin Family Vineyards features a beautiful view, wonderful people to mingle with, and what we believe you will consider some of the finest wine from our Spring Mountain winery.

    Luxurious Lodging

    Opened in 1981, Auberge du Soleil was Napa Valley’s first fine-dining restaurant. In 1986, The Inn of the Sun was opened and lies amidst 33 acres of heritage olive and oaks. The hotel offers 55 rooms and suites and the Valentine’s Day spa experience, known as Très Romantique, is a perfect romantic treat for the senses. It features an invigorating outdoor bath for two followed by a relaxing massage for two. Afterward, enjoy an elegant dessert and wine pairing. There are three temperate outdoor pools where couple can relax under the stars. Sleep in the morning after and end your experience with a scrumptious breakfast for two served in-room.

    Fine Dining

    PRESS is one of St. Helena’s most loved dining venues. Exquisite meals are served with some of the finest wines. The environment is ideal for getting to know that special someone a little more intimately. PRESS is the culmination of Leslie Rudd’s life passion, who loved “great wine, great food, and time to enjoy great friends”. PRESS offers five unique private dining spaces with indoor, outdoor, and two cellar options for cocktail parties and dinners alike.

    Where To Go

    Elmshaven is a historic museum house built in 1885 and this Victorian estate is something to behold. Home of Ellen White House, one of the founders of the 7th Day Adventists, a renowned writer who penned nine religious volumes in the estate’s writing room before she passed away in 1915. The home is decorated with White’s belongings, many of which are still located where she placed them more than a century ago. Listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1993, walk-in tours are free and the estate is open 7 days a week.

    What To Do

    St. Helena Cyclery provides bicycles of all types, from regular bikes to hybrids and all-electric models. Because Napa Valley lies between the mountains, cycling is an excellent way for couples to tour the wineries, sample the best wines California has to offer and enjoy a leisurely ride through the beautiful countryside. Maps of selected routes are available to visitors, including our exclusive Taste The Wine tour of local vineyards.


    Spring Mountain and St. Helena has a lot to offer at this time of the year. Summer months can be a bit hectic at the vineyards so take advantage of this current season. Visit us for a tasting and be sure to ask us about our favorite things to see and do while you are in the area.

    The Holidays in St. Helena’s Spring Mountain District

    The Holidays in St. Helena’s Spring Mountain District

    Try something a little different this season and visit a Spring Mountain winery. The bustling activity of Veraison is over, and local wineries are happy to show off the fruits of their labors. Spend a few days in St. Helena and experience the festive side of California’s Napa Valley. Be sure to schedule a tour at Sherwin Family Vineyards as part of your holiday excitement, and let the festivities begin!

    Christmas on Skates

    St, Helena’s Jingle All The Way celebration takes place every Thursday through Sunday in the month of December. Don your skates and come down to Lyman Park for skating, music, wine and dining. Couples and families are sure to have a wonderful time so set aside at least one afternoon for a bit of fun in the park.

    Ride the Santa Train

    During the holidays, the Napa Valley Wine Train transforms into a holiday extravaganza on tracks. The Santa Wine Train runs between Napa and St. Helena until the end of the year and features hot cocoa, fresh cookies, Santa Claus, and fun for the whole family. The Wine Train is always an exciting tour of Napa Valley, but the Christmas season makes it even better.

    A Feast for the Season

    For a locally sourced Italian delight, reserve a table at Cook St. Helena. House-stretched mozzarella and international dishes give the cozy atmosphere more appeal. Ideal for couples celebrating the season, Cook St. Helena is one of several top-ranked restaurants in St. Helena. If domestic fare is more to your liking, Archetype serves fine American brunch and dinner.

    New Years Speakeasy

    Step back in time at the Goose and Gander where a New Year’s Eve gala is sure to rock your world. Featuring ragtime music and a luxurious 7-course Pixie Fixe dinner, this speakeasy-themed restaurant and lounge will close out the night with an after-party that stretches right up to the end of 2019.

    Visit the Winery

    Schedule visits to one or more of the local wineries that dot the countryside around St. Helena. At Sherwin Family Vineyards we are always happy to show our guests around, give them some insight into the wine business, and relax over private tastings of some of our popular vintages. This time of year is perfect for sipping our unique wines in front of a fire. This is one of the best seasons to visit Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain AVA. For visitors, this is the time to make new friends, discover the art of winemaking, and see what St. Helena has to offer.

    History of Spring Mountain Wineries, St. Helena

    History of Spring Mountain Wineries, St. Helena

    Named for a group of mountains and their numerous springs, Spring Mountain lies between Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The region is dotted with picturesque lines of grapes growing on painstakingly terraced slopes, and Spring Mountain is home to dozens of working vineyards. Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain winery, is proud to be among that number and works hard to ensure that your visit will be a memorable experience.

    A Brief History of Spring Mountain

    A member of the Mayacamas Mountains, Spring Mountain is nestled above St. Helena. First planted in 1874, Spring Mountain gained recognition as an American Viticulture Area, or AVA, in 1993. Since then, Spring Mountain wineries have built a respectable reputation as a producer of fine vintages. When Miravalle was built a few years later, the stage was set.

    Humble Beginnings

    La Perla Vineyard was the first of a new wave of wine lovers and their vineyards in 1874. Founded by Charles Lemme, that modest 25-acre enterprise led to the Beringers expanding their operation into Spring Mountain a short time later. Once the area became an AVA in 1993, other wineries such as Sherwin Family Vineyards in 1996, set up operations in this idyllic region.

    Spring Mountain News

    Spring Mountain has been drawing prominent attention for more than a century. Eyebrows were raised when Tiburcio Parrott, a San Francisco banker built a Victorian-style home in the area and established Miravalle. The idea of growing world-class grapes in such rocky, hilly terrain was preposterous in 1893, but Miravalle’s gold medal win at the World’s Fair caused other future vintners to give Spring Mountain serious consideration.

    Spring Mountain Grapes

    Spring Mountain AVA is comprised of 8,600 acres, with over 1,000 acres already in cultivation. The terraced rows add a feeling of purpose with their precise organization along the region’s hillsides. The attitudes are more laid back and the unique climate is ideal for wine grapes to go through the ripening process, known as veraison. Unlike the sprawling old-world vineyards, Spring Mountain is home to many smaller vineyards tucked among the hillside’s forests and mystique.

    All these years later, and Spring Mountain is still known for its distinctive premium wines, each the result of wine-lovers turned investors who were willing to put the time and work into making what has become some of the finest wines out of Napa Valley. From exquisite wines to extraordinary vintners, Spring Mountain is a unique experience.

    St. Helena and Spring Mountain have everything you need for a weekend break, vacation escape, or just a getaway for mom and dad. Visit us and you’ll taste some of the best wines Sherwin Family Vineyards has to offer while experiencing the best of our corner of the Napa Valley.

    Sherwin Family Vineyards Explains Why, When and How to Decant Wine

    Sherwin Family Vineyards Explains Why, When and How to Decant Wine

    At our Spring Mountain winery, Sherwin Family Vineyards, we see decanting as an important step of the serving process. Contrary to popular belief, serving fine wine is a little more complicated than simply opening a bottle and pouring it. Decanting wine brings out the full flavor of the wine and allows any sediments to settle so that they are not part of the pour.

    Why is Decanting Important?

    Decanting wine before serving is always a good idea. Even white wines benefit from the process, which typically produces a richer flavor. There are a couple of excellent reasons why we decant wines at Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain Winery:
    • Oxygenation - Giving air molecules a chance to mix with the wine allows it to develop a bouquet and fuller body. If you have ever opened a bottle of wine and it seemed a little flat or less flavorful than expected, you have experienced one of the primary reasons for decanting.
    • Sediment - Red wines are prone to sediment buildup as they age. This is the result of natural tannin bonding to the pigment, and becomes more pronounced in wines older than 5 years but may still be present in younger, heavier red wines. Because of the tinting in wine bottles, inspecting the bottle before opening may not reveal sediments in the bottle.

    How to Decant Wine

    On our St. Helena estate, the decanting process begins when a wine is selected for serving. Bottles are placed upright and allowed to stand for 24 hours so that any sediments in the bottle will settle out of the wine. It is important to change the position of the bottle slowly to avoid mixing the sediments with the wine. After the wine has had an opportunity to settle, you are ready for decanting. Open the bottle in a smooth motion. Using a flashlight or candle as a backlight, slowly pour the wine into your decanter. As you near the bottom of the bottle, you will notice a few dark pieces of sediment in the flow. Stop pouring and discard the remaining fluid in the bottle.

    How Long Should Wine Be Decanted?

    The time between decanting and serving depends on the wine being served. Heavy wines profit more from longer decanting periods, but lighter wines are more fragile. Because extended decanting may cause the flavor of these light wines to fade, the process should begin no more than 30 minutes before serving or serve directly from the bottle. Longer periods are more appropriate for dark wines, especially older vintages. When pouring from the bottle, keep a firm, steady hand. Vibrations or sudden movement will cause the sediments to shift and may affect the flavor of the wine. We decant many of the wines we serve at Sherwin Family Vineyards, and we believe you will discover that decanting works well for you as well. Sherwin Family Vineyards proudly produces award-winning wines including our estate cabernet sauvignon. We are also the only producer of the Patriotic Pour. Come relax on our vineyard terrace and sample our wines on your next visit. To schedule a tasting please contact us today.
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